Community bonds make investing in Madison easier

The City of Madison issued a one-week selling period of municipal bonds in early October to fund the renovations of Olbrich Botanical Garden. Sold in $500 increments, the bonds are meant to be more accessible to residents to provide an opportunity for them to invest in their community. While these appropriately-named “community bonds” are receiving much attention, the use of bonds to fund City projects is less unusual than it may seem. David Schmiedicke, City Finance Director, says the City of Madison issues about $100 million of debt a year in the form of bonds to pay for things like facility renovations, road construction and park improvements. Typically, these investments are sold in $5,000 denominations.

Dane County’s Bookmobile is gearing up for expanded service

Dane County’s miniature library-on-wheels is on the move. Starting on November 2, the Bookmobile will make weekly stops in Maple Bluff. Local residents will find the Dane County Library Service’s mobile library on Oxford Place adjacent to the fire department on Friday’s from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

“Typically what the Bookmobile does is serve the communities in Dane County that don’t have a municipal library of their own,” said Tracey Herold, the director of Dane County Library Service. When the Bookmobile launched in 1966, it served areas like McFarland and Fitchburg, which lacked their own public libraries at the time. The Bookmobile currently serves 16 different municipalities where public libraries don’t exist, or it doesn’t make sense to establish a library, which incurs continual expenses.

Enter Madison’s Selfie Contest Now

The City of Madison’s Selfie Contest is well under way, but there’s still time to enter. As part of Madison’s Historic Preservation Plan, the city seeks the input of its citizens regarding the places that have shaped the cultural, social, and physical character of the city.  

Residents who wish to enter the contest can do so by taking a picture of themselves in a Madison locale that they believe symbolizes something significant about the city. After snapping the photograph, send an email of their picture to historicpreservation@cityofmadison.com with a short description of the value and significance of the place in the photograph.  

Those selected for the first, second, and third prize will win $100, $50, and $25 respectively in the form of gift cards.

News ideas honored at Wisconsin Innovation Awards

Ten Wisconsin-based companies the Wisconsin Innovation Awards last week, an award which highlights and celebrates innovation in Wisconsin companies. 21 business leaders comprising the Awards Committee selected the 10 winners from 33 finalists. Each winner represented a different industry or business sector. Joseph Boucher, co-founder of the WAI, said this year the WAI received more than 350 nominations. “The goal is to have people from different backgrounds, different interest, meet each other and see what else is going on and collaborate,” Boucher said.

Madison Metro Transit launches equity survey

The City of Madison’s Metro Transit agency launched an online survey on September 28 asking passengers to report on equity in their bus service. According to the Metro Transit web page, the survey was launched to “reflect the goals and values” of Madison’s Racial and Social Justice Initiative. The survey asks passengers to report how frequently they use Metro Transit services, which routes and transfers they use most, and more questions about each individual’s personal profile and how accessible Madison’s bus services are to them. Madison’s bus services were at the center of a racial equity complaint in January when the Wisconsin Department of Transportation closed two DMV locations on Madison’s west side and opened a new DMV office that is more difficult to access by public transit. In response, Madison’s Department of Civil Rights filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation, with Mayor Paul Soglin rebuking the decision to open the more isolated DMV office.

October 2018 Backyard Heroes

Community Shares, a partner of Madison Commons, recognizes two volunteers each month. The volunteers come from Community Shares' member groups and are selected for their service to the community and to community issues. Tim Radelet, Project Home

Tim Radelet has been a great contributor to the goals of the Madison non-profit organization Project Home. For nearly 50 years, Project Home has worked to improve homes and make housing more affordable for low-to moderate income residents in Dane and Green County, WI. Over the last 20 years, Radelet has supported Project Home’s cause by volunteering his legal expertise pro-bono, and also served on the Board of Directors of the Rodney Scheel House.

Madison toward 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero carbon emissions

A resolution was adopted in July at a City Council meeting that will transition Madison to a 100 percent renewable energy. Madison is one of three Wisconsin municipalities that adopted a 100% renewable energy goal. The other cities are Eau Claire and Middleton. In 2017, Madison established a community-wide energy and carbon goal of 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero carbon emissions, and the city selected Sustainable Engineering Group LLC to provide a plan for city operations to achieve goals of 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero carbon. The resolution allowed the city to enter a contract with OneEnergy Renewables, an independent developer of community and utility-scale solar energy projects across North America, with a focus on commercial, institutional and utility customers, for the annual purchase and sale of renewable energy credits (REC) from 2019 to 2023.

Regional planners seek input from community members on their “Greater Madison Vision”

A regional planning commission is surveying Madison-area residents to discover how communities would like the city to change in the future. The project, called “A Greater Vision Madison,” was unveiled on September 12 and will ask residents of Dane County and other bordering counties what their priorities for the future are related to society, the environment, population and technology, according to Alder Larry Palm, Chair of the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission. A primary goal of the project, Palm said, was to emphasize the community’s values and visions rather than looking for quantitative information. “We want to understand where the differences in the community lie based on demographics and where people live,” Palm said. “Then, we can better understand where people align and differ.”

As part of the survey, respondents are first asked to rank their priorities for four types of change: society, technology, environmental changes and population.

Real Life Library promotes empathy and understanding with live “books”

Walking into Goodman South Madison Library on Saturday afternoon, visitors are greeted by two friendly staff members. “Are you here for the Real Life Library,” a staffer asks? After signing in, a volunteer directs visitors to the back of the library, where another staffer awaits. “What book would you like to checkout,” he asks? After an unsure pause, the volunteer hands-out a checkout card.